Friday, October 26, 2007


It works!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My thermally insulated pool cover made with tarps, bubble wrap and Duct Tape (The Handyman's Secret Weapon) really works!!!!!!!!!!!

The shade temp right now at 1:30 pm (1330 for some of y'all) is 23 C (73.5 F) and the water temp in The Pool is 27 C (80.6 F) and bound to get warmer! Ya wanna know why? Well, cus this pool is Solar Heated! Ha! I'll explain how it works next post.

The above is best read with Harold's voice echoing through your head...

Now then:

Dingo Dave's Delightfully Daring, Delicious Delicacies is coming soon to a computer near you (and me).  Stay tuned for all relevant info, and some (lots of) non-relevant info.

I've been very busy this week preparing for our First Annual Halloween Pool Party. Y'all are invited; snags, bangers, chops, and chooks will abound. Just BYOB, eh?

Gotta run, gots a pool to vacuum :)

more soon,



The pool temp is now 28 C (82.4 F) so it should be very very nice for tomorrow. Gotta run, loads of cleaning and cooking to do...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Update is done!

Well, me wee little blog is updated and upgraded. As you all notice, I've put labels on posts (thanks Suzer). You may also notice that the "food" label appears regularly (so does my waistline).

Next, I'll be making a cool banner pic. I've got a few ideas, but I'll keep you in suspense for now.

I'm also going to be starting a food/cooking blog! I'm thinking about having other folks posting recipes and food stuff there. Anyone interested? So far I think it'll be called Dingo Dave's Deliciously Daring Delicacies. Whaddya think?


If you are reading this right now, then let it be known that I'm a thrid of the way through my label updates. I'm now taking a break for lunch, then finishing it up this afternoon.

more soon

Friday, October 19, 2007

Death of a Canoe --Part Deux

So, the scene is set: The family is going down CC and continuing onto the lower part with the killer sweepers and the boat eating eddy's and the creek is running high!


Do you have beautiful tomato plants that are already over a meter high? Are they already producing tomatoes? But then you SUDDENLY FIND OUT THAT SOME DAMNED BUTTERFLY LAID EGGS THAT HAVE JUST HATCHED AND YOUR TOMATO PLANTS ARE COVERED WITH 2 MM LONG LOOPER CATERPILLARS?

If this has happened to you, then have no fear cus Dipel (tm) is here! Our Bio-Insecticide works wonders on any leaf eating caterpillars. Just spray it on, and the caterpillars die. Our product is biologically friendly, it doesn't affect any other insects, nor birds, nor fish, nor mammals. It's a naturally occurring bacteria bacillus thuringiensis and is a healthy part of any dynamic eco-system.

Make sure you spray both sides of the leaves, and retreat in 7-10 days or as needed.

Yes, you too can have healthy, beautiful tomato plants all summer long, producing almost 100 lbs of tomatoes! Imagine the savings!

Dipel (tm) also works on fruit trees, herbs, vines, and pretty much any place you find leaf eating caterpillars.

Just imagine: six months of wonderful tasty tomatoes grown from high quality cow poop! Mmmmmm GOOD!

Dipel (tm) is a trademark of Yates.


...and that's why I still have a healthy dislike of canoes!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Concerning Croutons and Cilled Canoes

Yeah, so it shoulda been Killed instead of Cilled. I just wanted to go with the "C" theme --kinda average?

I'm going to change this around and put the recipe (for what it's worth) first, then the story of the death of a canoe and almost the death of a family. Not only to keep all 17 of you (WOO-HOO) in suspense, but more so that if I run out of time I can always do part two next --brilliant logic on my part, eh? Not bad for a bloke with long blond hair and a tan...

Quick Croutons:

This is for when you need some croutons in a hurry, and you don't feel like running out to the shops and paying for them!

Take some white bread slices, either fresh or semi-stale. Slice em into crouton sized pieces (about the size of dice). Toss them into a wok, and add some seasonings. The other day when I made them I used Egyptian type seasonings and they are GREAT!

All seasonings are either dried, ground, or crushed. Here's the Eqyptian seasonings I used:

Sea Salt

Oh, if you've been wondering how to get that beautiful Moroccan flavour (or any North African or Middle Eastern flavour) then you'll want to note that the key ingredient not known in many western kitchens is ground sumac.

Anywho, toss the seasonings into the bread cubes and drizzle some olive oil on them. Put the wok on a high heat, toss the cubes frequently (if you let them sit for more than 30 secs you'll burn them). After a couple of mins (add more olive oil as needed) you'll have nicely toasted and seasoned croutons.

Remove from heat and let cool --they are even better the next day.

You can use any kind of seasonings, whatever your taste buds like.

Oh, regarding sumac: There are quite a few edible types of sumac berries; when used in cooking they are generally dried and then crushed. There are, however, six type of sumac berries that are poisonous and (for the most part) the berries are white. These include stuff like poison ivy, poison oak and (of course) poison sumac. I wouldn't suggest going out and picking your own sumac berries, just buy the powdered stuff at you local shops!

Now on to the section of Alaskan Dave Down Under which specifically focuses on Dave (that's me) growing up (HA!) and having fun in the wilds of the north.

Back in the very early 70's, the family moved from the little trailer in a trailer park off Muldoon into a large house by a lake. Since there was a lake, the Old Fart (my dad) got a canoe for us to play around with in the lake. He got a LAKE canoe. Very long with a square stern (for hanging an outboard motor --it's called a transom).

We had some fun with the canoe on the lake; explored pretty much every inch of it --got bored after a few months and then they (the parents --specifically The Old Fart (my dad)) had the great idea to go down Campbell Creek in it.

Yes, I can hear all of you in Los Anchorage saying how the creek is polluted and we couldn't possibly have done it... Keep in mind this was 35 years ago (you know: back when Benson Blvd didn't exist and Northern Lights Blvd was one lane each way and had just recently been paved? Of course you remember!)! There was still a big salmon run in the creek and there was a race down it each year (stay tuned!!!!).

CC (I'm tired of typing The Creek, or Campbell Creek) is fed by snow melt from up in the mountains nearby. This means that it really really really cold. Did I mention it was a tad bit on the nippy side? CC is also one of those that even though it runs through south Anchortown it's still quite the wild and wooley ride when the water's up.

Once you got past the first few easy miles, it turned into a twisty, turny fun ride. On the inside of each sharp turn were what's called "sweepers". A sweeper is a tree on the bank of a river that has had the bank eroded out from under it so that the tree hangs over the river (or creek in this case). If they only hang down to about 45 degrees you can duck under them and their low-hanging branches, but if they hang lower (sometimes even parallel to the creek) then it's really hard to duck under the branches without hurting yourself massively --so you go around.

On the outside of a turn that has sweepers, there's usually a deep hole in the river bottom formed by the swirling eddy's of the river. Think of them as miniature whirlpools. The water swirls around on the outside of a sharp bend and goes straight down into the river bottom and gouges out such a hole that you are well under water if you tried to stand up in one (don't try it!!!!). Also, the eddy's are a great place for big ole logs to hang out in and jam up against each other. Anything that can't float (like a swamped canoe for example) will be jammed against the logs and then shot to the bottom of the hole along with whatever is in it.

We had been down the creek a few times in the LAKE canoe, but we always got out before the ugly part. Weeeellll... to make a long story even longer, there was this time (after weeks of heavy rains) that we decided to go all the way down to Campbell Lake.

Part Two coming up soon: Does the clan pile into the logjam in a whirlpool or do they get gored by the branches of a sweeper... Da Da Da Dummmmm!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I tell ya, folks down here DO NOT know how to make guacamole sauce. Fortunately, I do! Do you know that they add SUGAR! Sacrilege! They also sometimes use cream cheese and green food colouring --BLARF! I've even been to one "Mexican" restaurant down here and they made the margaritas with LEMON juice instead of LIME!

I'm sure that every single one of you have your own way of making guacamole, so please don't think this is the only way to make it. Besides, each region and village south of the Rio Grande make it different from their neighbors.

I'm also giving you some alternative ingredients to add in --bonus for you!

My Basic Guacamole Sauce:

What you knead:

3 really ripe avocados (really really ripe)
Juice from one lime (or 1 tbsp lime juice)
Handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
1 tsp of cumin powder
1 to 4 tsp chilli powder (cayenne powder)
1 or 2 cloves of crushed garlic

What you due:

Do I really need to tell you this? Ok here goes: Slice the avocados in half, pop out the stone (tap it with a sharp knife, the stone pops out on the knife blade), and scoop the ripe pulp out into a bowl. Chuck in the rest of the ingredients, then go to town on it with a potato masher until it's all combined. Make it in the morning, then let it stand till ready to use in the evening.

See? Wasn't that easy?

A tip: if your avocados aren't as ripe as you thought, still scoop the pulp into a bowl and slice it quickly with a knife before mashing.

Now's the fun part: Additional goodies! I wouldn't suggest trying all of the additional stuff at the same time though... Just sayin'.

Additional ingredients:

Dried chilli flakes (as much or as little as you'd like; they're your taste buds)
Minced bell pepper (capsicum) --any color you'd like and roasted or not
Finely chopped fresh tomato
Sun-dried tomato --chopped
A tbsp or two of mexican seasoning (any brand you prefer)
Grated parmesan cheese
Finely minced fresh onion
Chives --dried or fresh
Chopped garlic greens --if you don't grow your own garlic, these can be hard to find

Another tip: if you've made it too spicy, then add a bit of cream to it, no worries.

I'm working on the creek story from my childhood in Los Anchorage (adutlhood was in Squarebanks) and it could turn into a two or three parter. However, I wanted to get this up as it's now lunchtime and the pool water is 26 C (79 F) and the sun is shining.


I forgot a pinch or two of salt in the basic sauce, oops...

Monday, October 15, 2007

I missed it!

Hey, I passed over 3000 hits and I didn't even notice it. I must be slipping in my old age.

I have had requests for a few recipes and some stories from a couple of folk, so I PROMISE those'll be up next --including almost dying in the creek as a wee lad.

It was going to be today, buuuuuut warmth happened.

Air temp: 31 C in the shade (88 F shade temp).

In the sun: A helluva lot warmer.

Pool water temp in the morning: 21 C (70 F).

Pool water temp by lunchtime: 27 C (81 F).

Can you all guess where my day went?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hear Ye! Here Yee!

Yes, I have just updated me little ole blog roll.

As this is a very lame excuse for a post, let me tell you that coming up are two great mexican recipes, a very long story about a family and a creek (and almost dying), many pics of the land down under, and a write-up about the Faerie Penguins and horse-drawn trams on Granite Island.

Stay tuned!

Oh, and pics of a few of the many sushi platters I've made.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Cheap 'n' Easy Blog Post

For those of you newbies, YT stands for Yours Truly (that'd be me), and WP is for The Most Wonderful Woman In The Entire World (that's me Wifey-Poo).

YT: Lemme go get my outdoor blower/vac and I'll take care of all those leaves and crap.

WP: Oh, great, thanks dear.

YT: Now, firstly, I need to find my sandals.

WP: Well, did you have them on when you jumped in the pool?

YT: No, I've been barefoot all day long.

WP: Hmmmmmm....


YT: Here they are, I found them in the library under a Calvin And Hobbes book!

WP: Why am I not surprised...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

What a day!

You know the say about when life gives you lemons to make lemonade? Well, how's about this: when life gives you grapes, make wine!

and summer isn't even here yet!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Just Duckie

As I type this, I'm sitting in a hammock chair with a cat (His Royal Highness:Prince Bagheera) rubbing against my legs. I'm overlooking the pool, and there isn't a single duck anywhere to be seen!

Hahahahahahaha! I have outsmarted the ducks, and there wasn't even any bloodshed nor ringing of necks :)

But wait... How did I get to be talking (typing) about ducks? Well, there's a tale to be told...

Da Ducks:

Firstly, the house we are in has a pool (duh), and I think I've mentioned this once or twice or thrice or fource or fifece. This pool is over 30 sq metres, that's at least 330 sq ft of surface area --bigger than my first apartment back in Squarebanks!

About a month after we moved in (yes, we lease the place from the new owners --long story) I heard two small splashes in the pool. Two ducks had landed in the pool and decided they liked it.

Being winter (or what passes for winter down here) I wasn't *too* concerned as I wasn't planning on being in the pool anytime soon. Side note: a short while later I decided I was going to use the pool cus I got tired of cleaning it without getting a swim!

I'll be posting a pic of the original two ducks in a moment, just as soon as I get back to my own computer where I have the pics, instead of here in the hammock while using one of the laptops. The house does have wireless broadband so I could upload this post from this here hammock chair overlooking my duck-free pool, but I'll wait till I get the pics so y'all can see the ducks --ain't I nice?

*found a pic of one of them*

It turns out they are what's called Pacific Black Ducks --I call these two Pacific Blond Ducks since they aren't too smart. There's a huge wetland area right around the corner where there are perfect places for loads of ducks. And up at Flinders U there's a big duckie pond, and then just up the hill at Wittunga Botanical Gardens are two great duck ponds. All of those have reed lined shores, lily pads, nesting areas, duckweed, etc. So why would these two Pacific Blonds come around to my pool with no nesting area, chlorinated water, and no food? As I wrote earlier: they are blond! Either that or they are having an affair and don't want the other ducks to know!

I did some research into these ducks and it turns out they are nomadic (not migratory), and they were in the middle of their breeding season. Now, as cute as ducklings are, I didn't want any around cus they'd grow up in mortal danger from His Royal Highness: Prince Bagheera. Don't worry, remember, these two are pacific BLOND ducks...

The first egg I found was on the bricks by the pool where the two of them would sit. Now, the edge of the pool (where they sit) is 8 inches higher than the bricks... Needless to say, the egg was cracked and had been abandoned! I knew right then that I wasn't dealing with the two brightest bulbs in the duck world...

Ah! I'm back! I was gone for a few minutes as I grabbed to power cable for the laptop, so back to the duck story (hey, the screen's brighter now too!):

Keep in mind, there is absolutely NOTHING around here for them to eat. My pool is NOT full of reeds and bracken for nesting areas. They also never overnighted --yet another sign of an affair?

Then, 3 days later, I find a small "nest" under one of the palm trees by the pool. I type "nest" cus it was a small hollowed out area in the dirt. No leaves, no twigs, no NOTHING except for one lone duck egg.

Was there a duck on the egg? NO. Was the egg cold? YES. Gee, why was the egg cold? Perhaps cus the two blond ducks left it overnight, uncovered, when the temp got down to 5 C (41 F). Ummmmmmm... let's see... a duck egg left at 41 F for ten hours... I don't think it'll hatch!

Side note: duck eggs taste like chicken eggs.

The third egg to show up (and last), was actually covered by one little leaf while mommy and daddy went off galivanting for 3 days.

Now do you know why I call these two pacific BLOND ducks?

At this point I was hoping that the Duck Division of Family and Youth Services would show up and haul these two off. But no, the Evil Duck showed up instead...

The Evil Duck was also Pacific Black, not very nice at all, and was probably the lady duck whom the other two cheated on. As soon as the first two would land, then the Evil Duck would land and fight with the female of the first pair.

Alright, time for some names: the first pair are Joe and Josephine, and the Evil Duck is Daphnee.

So, Daphnee would relentlessly attack Josephine while Joe sat and watched (catfight?????). I kid you not, I thought Daphnee would kill her! She tried to drown her on several occasions, while Joe circled around (probably shouting encouragement). I remember one time being woken at 6 am to the standard morning "duck fight", but this one sounded BAD. I tossed my robe on, went downstairs, opened the patio door and found what can best be described as a "rolling duck ball" on the back lawn. It turns out that the rolling duck ball was all three of my current pool tenants and the feathers were flying --side note: the cat was watching this with a perplexed look. They then flew away, but only onto the neighbours roof and went at it again. I'm sure the neighbours LOVED their wake-up call.

Another time, Daphnee chased Joe and Josephine onto the brick wall around the BBQ area and latched onto Josephine's tail feathers so tightly that they both fell six feet onto the bricks below. I thought my troubles were over, but, alas, both ducks were both fine.

For the next month the routine went like this: Joe and Josephine would shown up at the crack of dawn for a quick swim (and crap) in my pool. Then Daphnee would show up and chase them both off. Daphnee would then proceed to hang out in the pool all day long --while crapping a LOT.

Then one day, Daphnee got herself a boyfriend! He didn't look like a normal Pacific Black Duck, more like a Grey Teal Duck, but the markings weren't right for either... He lasted for 2 weeks and then was gone --I'm sure Daphnee tired of her boy-toy quickly.

For a week, life was back to normal: 530 am duck fight, duck crap in pool, Daphnee strutting around and crapping everywhere.

Then one day, the New Arrival shows up. Let's call him Daffy (he'd had to be daffy to hang around with Daphnee, Joe, and Josephine). He's a Mallard! I wake up one morning to see a convoy of at 4 ducks landing (and crapping) in my pool. Ok, fine thinks I, 'Daphnee and her blondie have made up with Joe and Josephine'. But when I look out the window, one of the ducks looks suspiciously like a male Mallard.

I even took a pic when I went outside. As soon as I get to my computer I'll post it in, no worries.

*found it*

Yup: One HUGE male Mallard led Daphnee, Joe, and Josephine to my pool. Daffy was fairly skittish around me, so the pics aren't the best. When Daffy flew off, the three Pacific Blacks flew off with him (he's a stud!).

It was at this point I did three things (regarding the pool). I researched Aussie ducks, I made the pool cover, and I bought floating pool furniture. Shall we review them in order?

1) Aussie ducks

Joe, Josephine, and Daphnee were without a doubt, Pacific Black. PB's are nomadic (no ducks down here migrate --why leave year-round summer?) and they INTERBREED with a certain type of duck the Europeans brought down here. Can you guess what they interbreed with? If you guessed "Mallard" then you are right! Unfortunately, the Mallard genes are dominant over the PB's, so they could be bred to extinction. Major Bummer. Soooooo, since the offspring are viable, that means same species, different race.

2) Pool cover

I was going to make a pool cover (owner won't buy one) when the weather really warmed up to conserve water, but I thought I should do it soon so the ducks go somewhere else. I researched how much a commercial cover for a pool this size would cost ($800+) and compared that to the materials to make my own thermally insulated cover ($105). Guess which choice I made? Oh c'mon, GUESS? What a great way to blow off four afternoons by playing with tarps, bubble wrap, sealastic, and (the handyman's secret weapon) Duct Tape!

Remember: If the women don't find you handsome, at least they'll find you handy!

3) Floating pool furniture

Have you ever thought how nice it would be to float around in your own pool on a 90 to 100 F degree day, the water temp is 80 F, and you're floating half-in and half-out of the water in a nylon mesh thingy suspended by two pontoons with an inflated headrest? Now imagine your hat is pulled over your eyes and you are taking a nap while laying (floating) in the pool (furniture). What does this have to do with ducks? Well, the yellow nylon mesh scares them away!

I was thinking about doing a food post for this, but I'm sure you all know how to cook omelettes and Peking Duck takes too long to make.

Cheers from Oz,

Oh don't forget, a story about how we all almost died in a creek in Alaska decades ago.